Friday, April 29, 2011

A new look at playing OGRE solo...

A new look at playing OGRE solo...

I was playing solo the other day and I discovered something. To 'program' a super cybertank with motivation is pretty straight forward. We see the big picture while on the battlespace there might be situations where this tank would make the right decision based on mistaken information and they weigh the odds as fast as we blink.
There is a way to make three rolls and make the OGRE act a little more irrational (or genius if the roll is right).

First of all, roll 2 dice for each of the OGRE's turn. If a 2 is rolled 
roll on this table:
1. OGRE fires strongest weapon at nearest weakest target.
2. Move away from primary target at full speed this turn.
3. Attempt to ram secondary objective until destroyed for this turn and next turn.
4. Move randomly for 1 turn ignoring primary and secondary objectives.
5. Attack nearest strongest target with weakest effective weapon.
6. If a swamp is near, enter it if in range, otherwise move only 1 hex.
Primary objective (CP) 5 hexes away? Cease rolling for movement change and choose the most direct way there but still roll on the OGRE Strength Priority Roll.
Secondary Ojective priority roll
1. Infantry -> Armor -> GEV
2. Infantry -> GEV -> Armor
3. Armor -> GEV -> Infantry
4. Armor -> Infantry -> GEV
5. GEV -> Armor -> Infantry
6. GEV -> Infantry -> Armor
OGRE Strength Priority Roll for each priority unit roll
1. 1:1
2. 1:1
3. 1:1
4. 1:1
5. 2:1
6. 3:1
Movement Priority Roll (roll for each movement point)
1. Left or Right
2. Backward Left or Forward(if priority target is out of range behind, otherwise Forward)
3. Forward or Right
4. Right or Left
5. Backward Right or Forward(if priority target is out of range behind, otherwise Right)
6. Backward or Left (if priority target is out of range behind, otherwise Left)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When you play OGRE do YOU fire at the AP batteries?

When you play OGRE do YOU fire at the AP batteries?

The air was still after fierce winds washed over the landscape, a product of angry nuclear blasts finding their targets. The would be humans behind their armor plate found mercy in unconsciousness as their commanders barked orders for them to fire at the behemoth heading their way. The internal computer AI found that attacking the OGRE would have dismal chances of effect, at this range anyways.
The OGRE switched to it's limited supply of non-fragmative 'dumb' armor penetrator rounds.  Each round's volume where electronics could be found was filled with more mass and propellant, trading brilliance for pure penetrative power. Useless really against the quick and anticipating mobile infantry (they never stay still) but ripe in usefulness against a unit that is stationary for a few seconds! It's firing rate needed to be to about 32 rounds a minute but this should not be a problem to fire between this creature's scales.
Holes in the heavy tank's skin started appearing in the thinnest parts of the armor. The computer switched on the brilliant round ECCM and spoofing countermeasures to full power. The electronic countermeasures were built for electronically guided munitions, not ballistically guided ones. The armor was being penetrated but at such low caliber as to make them useless to damaging any vital weapon or engine systems, however, so the computer shrugged for a moment. When stimulants were being pumped into the cabin and the computer started to initiate movement to the treads, several of the rounds made it into the cabin. When the rounds that made these holes started bouncing around the interior of the vehicle did the computer understand too late...

When you play OGRE do YOU fire at the AP batteries?
Well, I don't. Never did. Infantry are there to die and die they do very well.
What if... (uh oh!) the AP batteries could be used to attack disabled units at 1/2 strength?
Example: A heavy tank and two GEVs (all in different hexes behind the OGRE) are disabled. No infantry around at all (within four hexes). Why not utilize the AP batteries to pummel them with thousands of rounds of armor piercing rounds and maybe make a lucky hit? Lets say you have eight AP batteries. Used at 1/2 strength only 4 ATT could be used for an attack against the disabled vehicles. This would make a 1:2 roll possible on the heavy tank AND a 1:2 attack on the GEVs possible as well. Maybe you realy want that heavy tank taken out ... 1:1 roll, leaving the GEVs alone. 
If this rule was in effect the opponent would target at least some of the AP batteries to reduce their effectiveness against disabled targets.
Side effects of this rule:
1. You would have to add some VP to the OGRE a bit, but by how much I don't know. I'll let you math wizzes do that.
2. A unit 'destroyed' in this fashion will ALWAYS leave a 'HULK' in the miniatures version as the crew are the ones taken out, not the tank itself.
3. The AP batteries become more of a target, not to be totally destroyed, but enough to make them a non-threat against any potential disabled vehicles you want around for later. Only having them attack infantry or D0 units makes them next to worthless to shoot at.
Give the poor infantryman a break!
Follow the thread here: When you play OGRE do YOU fire at the AP batteries?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mnemonics, mnemonics, mnemonics and how I rote how I hate rote.

Mnemonics were on my mind (haha).
They are what got me through Anatomy & Physiology, medical terminology and gross anatomy. I wanted to be a doctor but work with computers now. Another story.
Now these Mnemonics follow laws as anything that is predicable does. The ability to predict that you will recall from your brain matter is important from the trivial up to the vital. I read a book that changed the way I learned. In public school (or publik skrewal as I call it) we all learned the rote way to memorize information. We would cram and cram until it became torture, hence the firm believe in most children that learning the sciences is not fun. There had to be a better way to learn.

Then I realized something after reading The Memory Book in college.
Anything you can associate with something you already know or remember, in a ridiculous way, you remember permanently.  
Key words: associate, ridiculous and permanently. Here is why these words are key.

When we seek to memorize information we tie two pieces of information together. Now our brain does not store easily receivable information in the form of words in some neat database. The brain stores this information as visual images, moving or still.

If you were to look into the sky and see a rainbow colored blimp that looked like a tree, that occupies 3/4 of the sky, moving past the speed of sound and rotating so fast you has trouble following it with your eyes, you would remember it to your dying day. 

OK, so how do we tie two pieces of information together so we can predict it's recall when when we need it the most?
This is you remembering without Mnemonics.

We have talked about Association, Ridiculousness and  Permanentness. How do they tie together?
Anything you can associate with something you already know or remember, in a ridiculous way, you will remember permanently.
There are four ways to do this successfully.
Before you apply them you must choose two nouns that describe as simply as possible your piece of information. This is your tag or handle to the rest of the information.
The four laws:
1. Action (rotate the noun, speed it up, flip it fast, make it go super sonic)
2. Substitution (transpose the two noun's physical shape and or function in the real world)
3. Proliferation (make as many of it as possible)
4. Exaggeration (make it extremely large)
The most important thing here is NOT to make it logical. You want to create something that your mind has NEVER seen before.
You are carried to school by a HUGE (Exaggeration) ferret flying past the speed of sound and rotating, keeping you barely in the basket it has between it's jaws (Action). As you look to your right and left you see that all of your friends from school are doing the same but your school friends are the huge speed of sound breaking and rotating hairy creatures with blotched fur and a tail! (Proliferation and Substitution). 

Secret! below - highlight for the secret...
In Latin, 'Ferrent' means 'to carry'.
You just learned a Latin word by reading an interesting story your brain probably took about 20 seconds to fully visualize.

You see, your brain does not work like a computer where data is written to a specific location and then recalled when a certain function is preformed. We are not machines. Our brains are immensely powerful novelty-seeking storage device that can store information that some say exceeds the atoms in the known universe. According to conventional biology, the human brain has an average of 100 billion neurons, and 100 trillion synapse connections. Azagaroth from this website has much more information if you wish for more information on those numbers. With this in mind (haha another brain joke) the visual cortex occupies a relatively substantial portion of our brain. Therefore, we should use this to our advantage. Once you master this technique, using this method during a test will seem like cheating. 

On a personal note, in anatomy and physiology, it took me 10 minutes to take a 2 hour test and got an A using this. 
This was before the internet and cell phones...

Monday, April 25, 2011

What units other should benefit from proximity to their command post?

The Light Artillery Drone was a new unit added as part of Combine Set 10.
LAD stats: Attack 2, Range 8, Defense 1, Movement 0.
Special rules: Ignore D results. Must be within 5 hexes of a CP, or else Attack Strength is at -1 and Range is halved.
Can be carried on a hovertruck pallet and set up in three turns by a squad of Engineers.
It is stated that a LAD is worth 6 points. I don't believe that, even if it didn't have the very stringent requirement of being close to a CP. And I'm not sure that it is even playable with those stringent requirements.
Neat model, though. Anybody used it? Comments?

by Steve Jackson; 02-27-2008.

To answer this question, yes I have used it and spent 10 vp points purchasing engineer infantry as well as 6 vp points on the LAD and placed it four hexes from my command center along with three turns to put up the thing. After the third turn, it got taken out with an OGRE missile. You see while the engineers were fogging up their helmets with effort, feverishly assembling this artillery piece, the OGRE Mark III moved 10 hexes (it lost a tread assembly for two turns) and fired within five hexes of the newly created LAD. Both Drone and engineers (and their 7 years of engineering school equivalent) was wiped out by a Rattler missile.

The Light Artillery Drone.
»?»What other units should be improved in close proximity to a command center (mobile or otherwise) or should the proximity be scenario specific?
»» The question had to be asked since a Light Artillery Drone enjoys +1 attack and +4 range from the original 1 attack and 4 range (That is how I see it from Steve Jackson's description). This is not even counting the fact that it is immune to 1:2 attacks and are 2/3 of the time immune to 1:1 attacks. 
»» That is a POWERFUL unit even if it's attack is only 2 and doesn't move. Buy four of them and no gaggle of GEVs would dare come within (8 hexes+4hexes) 12 hexes of a command center. Someone should do a simulation of how many GEVs it would take to storm that 'castle'.
»» I think it would give players strong incentive to keep some units closer to home, trading these benefits for extras attacks they could apply if they were 'out there'. I also think it would give the missile tank a new lease on life as it is seldom used as far as I know.
»???» Maybe give any missile units double range if within four hexes of a command center? Add range to the howitzer? Give free stimpacks to infantry to they can fight at double strength by at 1/2 defense for one turn once a game?

I liked FireHorse's rule set concerning this unit.
»!» LAD stats: Attack 2, Range 8, Defense 1, Movement 0.
»!» LAD units require one turn to load onto (or unload from) a hovertruck. (The hovertruck and the LAD must both spend one full turn in the hex to accomplish either action.)
»!» Once unloaded, LAD units deploy themselves immediately. No Engineers are required.
»!» If Engineers are present in the same hex, the LAD can deploy and fire on the same turn that it unloads.
»»When within 5 hexes of any CP, LAD units have an Attack of 3, rather than 2.

That's worth 6 points; and as an example of the loading/unloading process: Turn 1, hovertruck ends its movement in the same hex as a LAD; Turn 2, loading; Turn 3, hovertruck transports LAD; Turn 4, hovertruck ends movement in a new location; Turn 5, unloading; Turn 6, LAD is deployed and can fire.

Overrun rules marry Axis and Allies

Overrun rules. One of my least parts of the game of OGRE/GEV. There are exceptions upon exceptions enough for a lawyer to get overwhelmed. Well, not really - my younger brother is a lawyer and he loves OGRE. Well, I guess I proved the wrong point.
Anywhooo, I saw on the forums that the overrun rules were being contested. Many submissions. I believe the rules that get implemented are the simple ones that save time. A game from yore I played called Axis and Allies resolved regional combat simply. So, why not treat overrun like they operate combat in Axis and Allies?
1. Defender declares what units are riding what vehicles, what units are inside what buildings, what unit is in what revetment or anything that might influence the defense factor of any defending unit in this overrun.
2. Attacking unit(s) enters defender's hex.
3. Attacker chooses their targets and attacks, gaining overrun attack bonuses, if any, against any terrain or special defense bonuses the defender might have.
4. Defending units 'destroyed' are put aside.
5. Those defending units from step 3 attack the attacking units, gaining overrun attack bonuses if any, then are removed from play. [I][COLOR="Gray"]This simulates one last revenge kill from their brilliant rounds fired before they themselves are engulfed in nuclear fire.[/COLOR][/I]
6. Undamaged defending units attack, gaining overrun attack bonuses if any.
7. Attacking units destroyed by defender are removed from play.
   Repeat steps 1-7 until no more units are left of one side.
This simulates smart shells being fired by a unit that just got toasted just seconds before. In four minutes, a LOT can happen. Small warheads wizz overhead, mobile infantry jump jet onto a tank turret and place a charge and GEVs pop off a shot before they are blasted into bits.
A unit is any infantry squad, immobile vehicle, building, road, rail line, armor unit, GEV, OGRE component or anything else that has a defense statistic. If has a defense value it can be removed from play through overrun combat, even the city buildings around a lone mobile powered infantry unit with flames painted on his armor. Simple, just as I like it. No exceptions, just resolution.
Now if the units in OGRE/GEV were not so interactive with the opposing unit, I could have the defender and attacker choose which units they lose. This would be a nightmare in this game. Think about it for a while. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shockwave is to be shocked!

I was thinking the other day (yes, I know dangerous) and I thought to myself, there are different scales of large nukes a cruise missile could carry! So I came up with the system of assigning a cruise missile an attack strength and the attack strength would get 1/2 as strong for each hex it spread out. This is what I am talking about:
How it would work:

Treat D0 targets as having 1/2 defense value for the purpose of this chart.
Now just find the hexes out, divide the victim's defense by the nuke's attack and you have your odds!

First one all one rule made clear, spillover fire does not apply to this nuke's attack at any range.
With that said, let's move on...
12 attack cruise missile:
Ground Zero......................100% of the Cruise Missile's Strength, in this case, 12 attack
1 hex away (1.5 km)...........50% or 6 attack.
2 hexes away (3 km)...........25% or 3 attack
3 hexes away (4.5km)........12.5% or 1 attack
4 hexes or more (6+ km)... No Effect

Let's try this with a 36 attack cruise missile now!
Ground Zero......................100% of the Cruise Missile's Strength, in this case, 36 attack
1 hex away (1.5 km)...........50% or 18 attack.
2 hexes away (3 km)...........25% or  9 attack
3 hexes away ( 4.5km)........12.5% or 4.5 attack (4.5 attack, you round up if you are attacking D1+)
4 hexes away ( 6 km)...........6.25% or 2.25 attack (2 attack)
5 hexes away (7.5 km).........3.13% or 1.13 attack (1 attack)
6 hexes away (9 km)............1.56% or 0.56 attack (0.5 attack, you round up if you are attacking D1+)
7 hexes or more (6+ km)......No Effect because half of 1.56 is 0.78 or 0.28 attack (you don't round THAT up)
Note: To solve the 'no armor' problem or 'D0' problem I just made it so D0 had D1/2 defensive protection. A D0 unit was not meant for front line action and it's ECCM, armor sheathing  (if at all) and maneuverability reflects this number. They really should have made the D0 stated at D1/2. This way a nuke would not eliminate all D0 units within 6 hexes (or 9 km).
Example for a D0 being shockwaved:
A truck is driving an undeployed L.A.D. in the it's truck bed down a road to a town where he will be unloading it with the help of a single squad of powered mobile infantry jump jetting down the road next to the comically, almost overloaded, truck. A flash in the distance!  Sensors show a small A Cruise missile has lit off! Seconds later both units are bathed in a wall of air the density of a brick wall...

The 6 strength nuke's ground zero 2 hexes away. The truck is targeted as a D0 (or DEF 1/2) unit and there fore is attacked at 3:1. The 1/1 infantry is not targeted as spillover fire and therefore is attacked with 2 strength, or 1:2. The truck rolls a 3, leaving a hulk behind with nothing powering it and the LAD in the back is destroyed beyond repair. The 1/1 infantry rolls a 5 on 1:2 with a DIS result that reduced this 'squad' to zero. Technically, the suit is now filled with the remains of what once was a lieutenant. A fully functional suit for the Paneuropeans to find, clean out, and put back into circulation - if the wearer does not mind the smell of heavy decontaminates...
Example 1:
A heavy tank is 3 hexes away from a strength 18 nuclear explosion. 12.5% of the 18 attack strength equates to 2.25 or 2. The heavy tank is attack at 1:2 on the CRT. That tank was JUST inside the blast radius to be destroyed. The tank rolls an unlucky 6 on the CRT at 1:2 and is disabled for one turn.
Example 2:
Since an OGRE is so large, only 1/2 of it's components (not treads) are attacked, rounded up. AS to the picture to the left, only one side of the OGRE is exposed to the shockwave. The Red parts of the OGRE are attacked normally. The Grey parts are eclipsed by the red parts of the chassis. According to this picture, this Mark III-B would have one it's mains, three of it's secondaries, four of it's AP batteries and two of it's external missile pods exposed to the blast of the nuke. The purple part are  the treads, the more vulnerable as explained below.

An OGRE Mark III-B is 2 hexes away from a strength 36 nuclear explosion. At two hexes, 25% of the nuclear explosion, equating to 9 attack strength, of the energy blasts the chassis in fire, heat and all sorts of radiation.
  1 of 2 Main Batteries attacked  
It's main is attacked at 9:4 odds or 2:1.
  3 of the 6 Secondary Batteries attacked  
Then it's six secondaries, well three due to the rule above, are attacked at 9:2, or 4:1 ... better roll a 1 for each one!
  4 of the 8 Antipersonnel Batteries attacked  
Then 1/2 of it's eight AP units are obviously all wiped out since 9:1 is waaaaay beyond 5:1 leaving four of them on the other side of the cybertank.
  24 of the 48 Treads attacked 
Then there is the tread loss.
As with the other components, only half of the OGRE's remaining treads (rounded down) are presented  to the nuclear blast as well. Therefore, a maximum of one half of the treads may be lost through a nuclear explosion. However if TWO nukes went off on either side of the OGRE, one nuke would take one side and the other nuke would take the other. The only exception to this is if the chassis structural points were exceeded. I will not go into that as it would take A LOT of energy to destroy OGRE armor (or breach it for that matter).  A 36 ATT nuke goes off near this OGRE. Since treads are not as hardened at other components, treat the explosion as one hex closer for treads. Then split up the attack among as many 1:1 CRT rolls as you wish. In this case, one hex closer is treated as 50% of the strength of the explosion, or 18 attack. Potentially 18 tread units could be lost.
My personal feelings is that these nukes should be simple. One rule to govern the game. A nuke explodes, the number is reduced according to range (blast radius) and then a CRT is rolled. Simple.
Example 3:
(Last one I promise). A squad of 3/1 Infantry is 1 hex away from a 24 strength nuclear explosion. Therefore only 50% of the energy reaches them. This equates to 12 strength. A 4:1 attack is then rolled and the lucky player rolls a 1 on the CRT resulting in a DIS. Of course, DIS on an OGRE/GEV CRT equates to a reduction of one infantry from that squad. One part of their 3/1 squad is blown into oblivion. The other 2/1 hunkers down, probably trembling in fear, fortunate to be alive.
Here is a map and some descriptions to make it more clear (I hope).
A more detailed example with pictures! WHoo!
 A:  (36/2/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
Additionally, the road is attacked with 9 ATT to the 3 defense of the road. Roll on the CRT at 3:1 to see if the road becomes broken.
The road and forest behind are safe since no more than 12 strength of destructive energy was applied to this hex.
 B (36/2) 18 ATT on a road 1 hex away. Since the road has 3 defense, 6:1 odds is enough to break the road into many little pieces. Broken road!
The road 2, 3, or even 4 hexes away may survive better as they are farther from the blast.
 C:  (36/2) Rail line is attacked with 18 ATT. Since the rail line has 3 defense, 6:1 odds is enough to break the rail line  into bits of wood and rails.Twisted track anyone?
The tracks 2, 3, or even 4 hexes away may survive better as they are farther from the blast.
 D (36/2) 18 ATT on the two adjacent city hexes at 18:1 odds, reducing them both to rubble (absorbing 12 attack) and has 6 ATT left over.
 E:  ((36/2)-12)/2) Being two hexes away and having the city absorb 12 ATT, that 6 ATT is only 25% as powerful, so it's 3 ATT now. Half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 3 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 6 ATT.
 F:  (36/2/2/2/2) Being hour hexes away and having nothing to absorb the nuke, half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 2 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 4.5 (or 5) ATT.
 G:  (18/2) Being only one hex away and having nothing to absorb the nuke, half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 9 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 18 ATT.
 H:  (18/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
 J:   (18/2/2) The forest is attacked with 4.5 (or 5) ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 7 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
 K:  (36/2/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
I know it looks complicated, but it just this simple:
NUKE ATT STR -> Find ATT at each RNG -> Apply ATT to DEF -> Roll CRT
NUKE ATT STR -> Find ATT at each RNG -> Apply ATT to 1/2 of OGRE component's DEF (except treads which roll at one hex closer)-> Roll CRT
I really hope these examples helped. It seems like the application is much simpler than the explaination on how this game mechanic works.
But how much would it cost?
I did some quick and dirty calculations and it turns out that these nukes are not as expensive as I thought. If you factor in the strength summed up with excell for each size catagory, they range from 12 vp (for the 6 str nuke)all to way up to 107 vp (for the 54 str nuke). Divide this number by 6 and you have an armor unit equivilant. Now I did not take into consideration the fact that a cruise missile moves so fast that it only 'stops' if there is a unit nearby with anti-air capability. I will, one day, tackle this problem by making a part of a unit directly proportional to it's chance to shoot down the missile.
6 ATT=12 vp,
9 ATT=18 vp,
12 ATT=24 vp,
15 ATT=30 vp,
18 ATT=36 vp,
24 ATT=48 vp,
30 ATT=59 vp,
36 ATT=71 vp,
42 ATT=83 vp,
48 ATT=95 vp,
and 54 ATT=107 vp.
Maybe I will modify the missile's "size" according to it's yield ... naw.

Shocked, I need your help, math wizards!
Now, I could create tables to refer to and make exceptions to add flavor but this would bog down the game. Frankly, shockwave was my least favorite expansion. One cruise missile to rule them all? One warhead yield and no other to suit the situation? 
Enter the multi-variable yield nuke cruise missile (MVNCM ... naw ... no acronyms for this). The idea of a multi-variable warhead I believe adds both flavor to the game as well more realism. It will not only simplify the cruise missile nuke shockwave rules but also make them more fun to play. A player secretly writes down which cruise missile has what strength! One problem I ran into was the vp for each attack strength. There must be a math wizard out there to help me do that. I could easily make counters for a dozen cruise missiles with  for each to keep track of.
On page 108 of the GURPS OGRE book there is a list of yields and damage. Maybe if I could cross reference those to what they would to a, say, heavy tank - I would find my ratio of nuclear warhead strength to kTon yield. To know the kiloton yield would only be for flavor or for adding real life nukes into the game from an external reference source (like wiki).
I will leave it up to the reader of this article to give me some answers according to GURPS as to what nuclear strength point equates to what kT yield of the nuke inside that cruise missile.

There are always exceptions...
Now I know that GEVs are supposedly more susceptible to nuclear blasts more than tracked armor units and infantry are more resistant than both. Maybe account for this somehow? Suggestions? I am still working on this - but there has to be minds out there that are more thoughtful about this than I could be.
In my opinion, a game rule should be that, a game rule. That game rule should apply to almost all it was intended for with mercifully few exception (like the 1/2 ogre components and treads of an OGRE as above). If you have too many exceptions to your game rule you spend more time looking up rules and memorizing them than playing the game itself. This implies that your original game rule is flawed and the application of it needs to be compensated for. In other words, you have two train cars and you use rope to keep them together. Eventually, that rope will break, so connect up the trains as they should be.
Here is a white version of the chart above:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Dice Collection

Dice, Dice, Dice!
I hear a lot that objects have stories. I collect exotic, rare and interesting dice from all over.As this might not sound exciting to some people, I find it connects me to my past when I was a shy teenager interesting in math when other kids were out playing football or soccer.
My original Gamma World dice from my Gamma World second edition set I bought back in the mid 1980s. The local game shop had a few box sets that had promotional clear dice inside for an extra $4. I Splurged. The wax in this dice has stood the test of time since 1986, when I first 'waxed' it. 
Like 24 sided and 16 sided diamonds! I like these dice because they give me more variety in the random spread I can give to a random event or encounter. Plus they look really cool, IMO.
My exotic dice collection I use when playing  Role (not roll, remember) Playing Games. You will see missing dice  from a few sets. I show these to other people and I just have to give them one or two to remember me by...
I built this originally to roll stats for Travelers game characters. In Travelers, each character has five stats rolled at 2d6 points per stat. This closed 'rolling box' contains ten small dice. No lost dice, no external blame for a poor roll just convenient, don't you think?
Yet another find at Goodwill. A blank blue dice I can put stickers on and make into another specialty dice.
As my nephew calls them, my 'pirate dice'. The ones are replaced with a skull and crossbones.
At Goodwill I found this game box. If you ever want to make your own game, don't waste your money on a box at some fancy store, buy a game at Goodwill for few dollars you will never play then place contact paper over it and make it into your new gamebox. This is what I did with my OGRE/GEV material. All my OGRE/GEV material lives in a game box designed originally as a Harry Potter game.

This game came with seventeen dice that I can put labels over to make more CRT dice.

A true treasure full of dice!
My set of trick dice! I loved pulling these out for the nieces and nephews. They all wondered how I used my 'powers' to make them roll seven each and every time...
And here is how it was done. No magic here...

My great uncle used to play monopoly with this surprisingly well preserved monopoly dice back in the during the depression. My grandmother gave it to me after she heard I collect interesting and rare dice. Bless her soul, she is not longer with us.
Got this at an antique store. Not sure why all the faces read five dots. Anyone have a clue about this one? I sure don't. I bought it just out of curiosity sake.
An original Dungeons and Dragons 1st edition d10 dice. I lost the other ones but I can still remember fighting that rust monster in home room in middle school. I remember because I used a magical glass sword.
My pathetic first try to make a CRT dice.

Friday, April 22, 2011

One day a Mark VIII Peaches scampered onto the battlefield...

Board View, 5 feet x 5 feet

A Mark VIII "R.O.U.S." emerges over the mountains. The birds silenced their songs, the grass hissed by the passing wind and heads stared in shock at their holotanks. A hush fell over the lazcomm frequencies as a collective shock rippled through the battlefield. Most of those present in the battlespace have heard of such an aberration, but those were only legends. Around the campfire, the unsuited mobile infantry fearfully refer to this fuzzy horror only as 'Peaches'.

Occupying 2.4 square kilometers of ground this terrible, fuzzy and multi colored hair of warfare waddles the battlefield. The R.O.U.S. Mark VIII eyes a Paneuropean Thor Superheavy Tank with morbid curiosity. The shocked and trembling crew reach for the button that would fill their compartments with tranquilizers.

At last, to the Thor's relief, a poor Combine Battlesuit Marine meets a horrible end...
I put the Mark VIII 'Peaches' back into her barracks and gave her a cashew - er - I mean a nuclear powerback cashew (which she then put with her hundred of other nuclear cashews at the bottom of her cage - er - I mean R.O.U.S. shelter). I also 'punished' her with adoration for making my gaming experience much more enjoyable.
R.O.U.S. Mark VIII 'Peaches'
VP: Priceless
ATT: Sharp teeth and a 'cute stare no man or woman can resist'
DEF: Cuteness factor 9
RNG: 1
MOV: 4/3 (not hovercraft, but whoa can she scoot!)
Cheek capacity: 22 nuclear powerback cashews, 6 heavy tanks (not neatly stored) or eight powered infantry platoons in extreme discomfort.
Special powers: Mine laying abilities. The ability to escape any (and I do mean ANY) enclosure.
Sadly the 'Peaches' version has passed on. Her chassis rests behind the garage in a specially crafted wooden box.
On a serious note, AngusKhan from the SJG forums asked me: 
How did you make the mini's? It looks like you bought metal minis and made molds from them, and then "cast" your own, is that right?
To whom I answered him on my account on SJG Toltrin:
The casts were done with bakable clay and talcum powder. They didn't take all that long to make - the quality is somewhat inferior - but at least I have made now a Mark VIII! Complete with 5 Mains, 16 Secondaries, ect. It is quite a sight! The piece is articulated in 3 pieces. I built it just because I could. I love clay! - and yes those are risk pieces. They were easier to identify than those tiny, expensive ones, in my opinion- plus I would never run out of them.
By the time this post was written I now every mini Warehouse 29 sold as well over 140 1/285th scale Combine and Paneuropean mobile infantry. It is the works for me to reproduce many of every one of the units I have examples of in resin once I get proficient with the molding process involving casting resin.
I don't think I will reproduce the infantry though, as they are too small to produce with resin casting. They were so inexpensive, why not buy all I needed (well, wanted). You can see the post I made about them all here

My boardgamegeek profile. What is interesting is that if you Google "Toltrin" my boardgamegeek profile is the FIRST hit. It's nice to have a name all my own under 7 letters that makes it to the top of Google. I tried that with my real name and came up with a famous pharmacologist, professional make-up artist and a chemist. I guess my name is associated with people who are good at disguising themselves as they run their home made drug labs. I love   illogical assumptions, they're fun!

To continue the silliness I give you the Nerf Tank for OGRE/GEV!

The Nerf Tank (yes I made a counter for it):
Att: .0005 (doubled in overruns ... so .0010), One shot nuclear propelled nerf projectile. To achieve a disabled against a def 0 armor unit or building, roll a 1 on d1000. 
When attacking buildings, 1,451 one shot nuclear propelled nerf projectiles are required to reduce the structure by one. 
If indeed over 1,200 nerf tanks DO attack a building, the material from the one shot nuclear propelled  Nerf projectiles form a rubble hex of nerf material that adds .01 defense to any unit in the hex and reduces all movement by 1/2.
Def: 1 (100m thick nerf material) 
Rng: Infinite (If attack is .0005, why not make the range unlimited?)
Movement: Flying, infinite, once (after accelerating past the speed of light, inhabitants of tank are mush)
Points: .01 (600 Nerf Tanks may be bought for 1 armor unit or 6 pts)
Um, oh yeah, it's size is 120.
Cost in vp? You decide!

Here's another silly unit pulled from Steve Jackson's game forum archives (my submission):

Civilian Listening Post:
Att: 0.0323  (Have you been hit over the head repeatedly with tin hearing aids the size of a car door?)
Def: 0.0172 (The human body and giant tin earpieces offer some resistance to nuclear blasts)
Rng: 12
Move: 1/2 (1")
Able to listen for ogres over 18 km away!

One last bit of silliness:

Of course you HAVE to have this guy...

Warthogs crash into Car Wars with disastrous results...

You know now the Warthog from Halo 1 seemed to be the perfect vehicle?
Well, I went ahead and applied Car Wars logic to it (with somewhat hilarious results)

Warthog(Yes, from that Halo game!)
Driver: Room for one Spartan super soldier who can run faster than this vehicle.
Passengers: Room for one passenger wildly firing an woefully inaccurate battle rifle in the front seat and a gunner manning a very large machinegun in the rear turret. How the gunner has to strength to hang on is anyone's guess. Rumor has it that the gunner's hands are carbon welded to the gun's firing mechanism as well as his feet to the floor of the turret.
Armor: Lightweight Neutonium armor all around. Impossible to penetrate or damage except that all damage is bypassed to the passenger, driver and (of course) gunner. No top armor and no damage to all occupants in the case of a vault or rollover. Somehow the occupants are ejected when the Warthog vehicle tilts more than 60 degrees.
Engine: Some super awesome fusion and fairy dust powerplant that is never damaged except if submerged in water. It will explode in water.
Armament: Vulcan machinegun in turret with gunner manning it. For some reason it can shoot infinite ammunition. Rumor has it that there is a mini foundry/factory near the bottom of the machine that turns the dirt beneath the vehicle into bullets at a very rapid rate. Extremely accurate at point blank and extremely inaccurate at longer ranges.
Cost: Unknown. The tax-payers pay for it so who cares?
Weight: Infinite but has a super secret baking formula for making compressed black hole grade neutonium ultra light material armor. In fact it is so light weight that tire friction and air resistance is what limits the vehicle's top speed and acceleration.
Tires: Made of the same ultra light compressed black hole grade neutonium but inflatable for a smooth ride.
Suspension: Extremely sensitive to even the smallest bump in the road for tactical awareness of the surface you are driving on. Gives the vehicle a feeling of "sitting on a balloon rolling over a bouncy castle". Can recover from being dropped from any height and protects the passengers and driver from any concussion action through a small marble sized mechanism in the dash that bends the laws of physics around them. 
Caution: It can kill any living known creature (even an elephant) with just a 1 mph tap of the bumper.

About those dice you saw, I'm not finished...

OK, so I showed you my CRT dice that makes the game of OGRE/GEV go fast as slick snot (ew!). Now here are a few more photos that will confirm that a counter and map based CRT war game based on a 1:3 to a 1:5 odds table should not take as long as it used to.
In my hand are 9 potential CRT dice. You could assign the red ones to OGRE attacks, the white to Combine and the yellow ones to another player. The combinations are endless...

Imagine if you could make laminated labels for six sided dice, why not make dice sets for all sorts of things? Can anyone say random dungeon generator?

My collection of CRT dice along with my extras I am still scratching my chin about what to do with...

Now I own a lamination machine. I also have about a dozen 8.5"x11" lamination sheets (basically a folded over clear plastic with unactivated glue in between) I have turn a few of these sheets (as seen in the picture of the lamination machine) in partial pieces that I can adhere permanently to pieces of paper. When I make my CRT dice I put the printable label through my laser printer, run it through the laminator with a l1-sided lamination sheet over it (to save on materials - these sheets are like a buck a sheet) and then cut out the 7/16th inch pieces and then adhere them to my six sided dice. You can pick up these dice at an online store for around $3 a dozen, but expect to pay around $10 for the shipping. My suggestion? Figure out what dice sets you want to buy, whether blank polyhedrals like these or differing color six sided like these or even close a dozen pure white six sided blanks like these from Chessex. I would LOVE to plug Chessex, they account for about 95% of my dice collection which I will show below. Chessex are fair in their shipping prices, they are reliable (no 'lost' product in the mail) and their customer service is to die for (get it - die - dice - ugh I know...). I would look around for blank dice, but if you are serious about starting a collection of quality dice, I would go with your local brick and mortar or Chessex (and no, I don't get paid every time I say it - haha - j/k they pay me 3 pesos every time).
Here is a picture of my favorite airplane.

Here is a picture of my favorite airplane. I got to see this awesome aircraft about two years ago at the Air Show flying in formation with a P-47 Thunderbolt. The A-10 Thunderbolt II (or nick-named the "Warthog") is the descendant of the great World War two Fighter.